Travel Story | Working at Hot Water Beach Part 2

by Flip Flop Wanderers

And the working at Hot Water Beach continues… It was the new year of 2018 and we had already spent 1,5 months working at the Top 10 Campground. In our previous story, you can read what this working was all about. While the work in housekeeping wasn’t really our dream job, we just kept going because we needed the money and we just enjoyed life on the campground and the beautiful summer weather. The nice people we met and chilled atmosphere on the campground made the whole experience pretty good!

Read our travel story about working at Hot Water Beach – part 1!

Of course, we also wanted to travel further through New Zealand soon, especially while it was still summer, so it was clear that once we had enough money we would quit the job and go roadtrippin’ again. Firstly, the plan was to at least stay till the end of February or even till March, but at the beginning of January, we got a really cool offer (more on that later), so that was when we eventually decided to stay till the 11th of February. So from the beginning of 2018, we still had 1,5 months to go which meant that in total we worked for almost 3 months on the campground. A good amount of time! In this blog, we’ll tell you what we have done in those last 1,5 months!

Cathedral Cove

Working our butts off

Let’s first talk about the work itself. In our previous story, we told you that the first weeks were really quiet at work and that it was getting busier during the Christmas period. Well, after the Christmas period it was even busier! 

The reason for this was because during the Christmas period people had to stay for a minimum of 4 or 5 nights on the campground. This means that we didn’t really have that much to clean because people were not checking out. The thing we were busiest with was services we offer to people if they are staying for a longer period of time. After the Christmas period, this 5-night minimum stay rule was lifted, which meant that people could stay for only 1 night again. And while Hot Water Beach is a place where people mostly don’t stay very long, most people during this time actually stayed only 1 night! And with high season still very much in full swing, it meant that a lot of days we literally had to clean every single cabin on the whole campground! Puh, that really was a lot of hard work!

And Bram is still good in making beds 😉

And we also still had the extra shifts we had to do. So the last 1,5 months in Hot Water Beach consisted of a lot of working actually! This didn’t leave much room for anything else. As told, the atmosphere wasn’t always great, there still was a lot of gossiping going on, and initiative wasn’t appreciated, so we just did our job and ignored the rest. There were some changes in the staff too. Some of the backpackers that had been here before we started, and who had become good friends, were leaving too which changed the atmosphere on the campground. Luckily we left not much later. Some other couples started, but it was different without the other ones.

The laundry

Fun times after work

Of course, it was not only working, because that would be boring! We had some fun times after work too! We have had really good weather in Hot Water Beach, it apparently was the hottest NZ summer ever. We noticed this at the locals who loved to complain about the good weather. Although we had some big storms passing through too, and that is where we like to complain about 😛 There were 3 hurricanes coming from the Pacific islands for New Zealand. Luckily they lost in strength before arriving, but they caused some bad weather all over NZ!

After work, we often had some beers with our colleagues in the sun or went to the beach to chill or surf and a couple of times there was some live music at the campground as well.

A super cool opportunity

As said above, our plan was to stay until the end of February or March, but plans change all the time! An awesome opportunity popped up. When Manon was younger she used to babysit for a family that moved to New Zealand years ago. We visited them 3 years ago when we were traveling through NZ for the first time. Manon saw on her Facebook that they were looking for someone to housesit their orchard while they are going on a big trip around the world to visit The Netherlands and Europe. We were really interested because living in Hawkes Bay for a while would be good! And they were really happy that we wanted to do this too because they know who we are, and that’s different than having a stranger in your house! It would be in March and April, and because we want to see something on our way over there as well, we decided to leave Hot Water Beach halfway of February.

Building our van 2.0

Since we had plans to leave, we had to make some more progress with building the van too! We only had a bed and some drawers so far, and the nice curtains, so we worked really hard to get everything done in time! Bram made some cabinets beside the bed. We could store most of our stuff in the drawers and cabinets now, and it wasn’t such a mess inside anymore. Afterwards, he built the kitchenette. We were running out of time but it was finished just before we left! We were really happy about it, and we were ready to go traveling again! We still had to do some painting and finishing touches, but that can be done later as well! You can read all about how we build our van in this blog post.

Our first project for Flip Flop Wanderers

In the meanwhile, our Instagram kept growing and we had our first collaboration with a company to promote their product! We had been in contact with Trono, they have some awesome inflatable chairs that you can inflate in no-time and they had sent us 2 of them and in exchange, we would promote them on Instagram and send them some photos. Parcels take a long time to arrive in NZ, especially when you live in a remote town during the Christmas period, but it arrived at Hot Water Beach at the beginning of January. We really loved them and used them a lot during the rest of the summer!

Exploring the Coromandel

Of course, we had some days off too, and during these days we loved to explore what the Coromandel summer had to offer us!

At the beginning of January, we drove the scenic 309 Road to Coromandel Town. This is a windy gravel road with a lot of spectacular sights along the way. It is on the edge of the Coromandel Forest Park.

There is a nice walk through the Waiau Kauri Grove, where you can spot some huge Kauri Trees.

We also visited the Waiau falls along this road. These falls are ideal for a cool plunge, you can even stand underneath them!

After this scenic drive, we went to the Driving Creek Railway. This is a man-made railway going up on a steep hill. It was originally made to bring some mud for pottery baking to the pottery, but they continued building it into a scenic railway. It’s a very fun drive and it looks a bit like a slow roller coaster 🙂 Along the ride and on the top, you can enjoy the most amazing views over the area!

Later in January, we went back to Cathedral Cove, but this time really early in the morning to watch the sunrise! We had to be there at 6, and it is a bit of a hike to get there, especially now that the closest carpark was closed during the peak season because it is too crowded with tourists. Not in the early morning, there were only a few other photographers enjoying the view! Walking over there in the early morning was a lot easier without the burning sun! The sunrise was just amazing. We made some awesome shots and when we went back we still had a full day ahead of us: the perks of rising early!

So after this visit, we drove to Whangamata, which was quite a drive over the windy roads but it was all worth it! We were going to rent a kayak to visit Donut Island. This small round island just off the shore has a lake inside which you can enter with a kayak through a cave. From above it looks like a donut, so that’s where the name comes from. First, we had to get our kayak through the surf though… There were some waves but we made it through! Inside the island was really impressive! A small lake with a little beach, absolutely stunning! After many photos, we had to get back and while surfing the waves with the kayak, we flipped! Luckily we were well prepared with a dry bag, so the camera survived.

We also climbed the Pinnacles. These high tops from the Coromandel Forest Park are an amazing sight to visit. It is a really tough climb, but the views are so spectacular! We stayed there in a hut so we could visit the top during sunrise and sunset. You can read all about it in our previous blog post.

If you have lived in Hot Water Beach, you must dig your own hot spring at least a couple of times! And what is better than soaking in a hot spring while watching an amazing sunrise?! When the low tide was at the same time as sunrise we went to the beach even before work! Although we are not early risers, it felt really good to wake up like this!

As said, the weather was great most of the time, but we had less good weather too. And if that coincides with your day off, you can make the most of it by going to the Lost Spring in Whitianga!  It is a beautiful hot spring with a tropical feeling. It is so nice to relax here, especially on a day when the weather isn’t great.

Last working day

After almost 3 months our last working day was there (11-2)! And that felt so good! They even brought us some goodbye cake during our break 🙂 We didn’t leave immediately though. Since the weather was really bad (it had been raining continuously for 3 days in a row) we decided to stay an extra day and finish up our van now we still had the tools for it!

Leaving Hot Water Beach

Two days after our last day, it was time to leave Hot Water Beach. We were so happy to be on the road again, although we had a great time here and we will really miss the friends we met here! It wasn’t our dream job, but the experience of living on a campground in this beautiful area was awesome, and it is a time we will never forget!

It was time for some travels again! We had planned a great road trip crisscross over the Northern island towards Hawkes Bay. And the plan changed already the day we left haha, but more about this trip in our next update! Thank you for reading and feel free to leave a comment below!

If you really want to learn about a country, work there


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